Aups Truffle Festival
Each year, on the the fourth Sunday of January, the town of Aups hosts a Black Truffle Festival and celebrates all things truffle.
In addition to the regular weekly markets each Saturday in Aups, on the 4th Sunday of January, they organise an amazing black truffle festival. The programme includes a truffle market with other local produce, a truffle hunting demonstration, local families dancing in beautiful Provençal costumes, a truffle dog competition, conferences, book signings, exhibitions around the truffle and truffle-based menus at all the village’s restaurants!
It’s worth booking in advance as there are a lot of visitors in town, all keen to taste the ‘black gold’, these mushrooms with such captivating flavours and aromas. In the surrounding area, Château de Berne in Lorgues also organises a truffle festival in mid-February as does Montagnac, in the neighbouring department.
The picturesque village Aups is located in the Var, along the foothills of the Provence Alps at an altitude of 500 metres. The village has about 2000 inhabitants and is characterized by narrow, medieval streets, historic washhouses and fountains. Originally Aups was built as a kind of castle, which is still visible to the city gate in the old part of the village. Aups is located in a wooded area with lots of oak trees. Not surprising that the village is known for their truffles, as they are growing in the soil around these trees.
So-called for its inimitable flavour as well as for its price, the black truffle or “Tuber Melanosporum” is a mushroom that lives underground, mainly at the foot of oaks and hazelnut trees. Its black bark envelops a black and white marbled flesh. Its distinctive perfume is made up of more than 70 aromatic components. To develop, it prefers a medium-altitude, a generally hot and dry climate, spring rainfalls and shallow limestone soil. Consumed since antiquity, today it remains the quintessential star of festive menus and gastronomic meals.
Truffles are harvested in winter, beginning in November and continuing until the following March. You could try to find them in the forest yourself but be careful about the place you are looking at. You may encounter an angry owner.